When Indian captain Virat Kohli lost the toss, he was not too unhappy. In fact, he conceded that he would have bowled first as the surface on offer had a tinge of grass cover, which would help his fast bowlers. His seamers stepped up once again and showed why they are perhaps the best bowling unit in world cricket.
Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami combined to produce an absolutely stellar display of fast bowling. R Ashwin too o chipped in as he claimed two wickets of his own. However, this dominance was marred by inconsistencies in the slip cordon as the skeletons tumbled out. Virat Kohli dropped Mushfiqur Rahim and then Ajinkya Rahane shelled two chances off R Ashwin.
Kohli is really hit and miss in the slips
So much time was given to ironing out these flaws in the training sessions and yet, this fielding fell short and this is why this Indian team still has a long way to go before they can indeed rule over the cricketing world much like the way West Indies and then Australia did.
Both West Indies and Australia had solid slip cordons and they seldom grassed anything which made their bowling even more potent. For all the advancements made in bowling, India's woes in the slip cordon keep coming back to bite them and while this can still be masked in home conditions, it will stare them back decisively in overseas conditions.
What India needs to do it to identify a select group of fielders and stick with them for a long period of time. In this match, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli alternated as the first slip and this does not help in getting any consistency going and well, for his brilliance with the bat and in the outfield, the Indian captain does drop plenty of chances in the slips. There is no dearth of fighting spirit and no dearth of training, but his hard hands could be one of the reasons why he shells so many catches.
Having said this, he did pouch a smart catch off Ishant Sharma immediately after the lunch break, but if India truly has to reign supreme in Test cricket across all conditions, they have to sort out this gaping hole in their scheme of things.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal are solid blokes, they have a sense of calm around then and time has come to give these players a long rope to establish themselves in the slip cordon against the fast bowlers.